Category Archives: Buying tips for your NYC apartment

33 Luxury contracts signed last week Record breaking week

33 Luxury Manhattan apartments priced at $4 million and up went to contract last week marking the best late June week since records were kept by Olshan Realty. Could this be a turning point in the luxury market as the pipeline begins to dry up. There is still a lot of inventory out there that needs to be absorbed but market conditions in favor of buyers do not usually last long in Manhattan.

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21 luxury contracts were signed last week

Manhattan’s luxury market continues to record strong sales this spring with 21 contracts signed last week for properties at $4mm and above. Roughly half of those contracts were signed for downtown properties.

 

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The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

 

Thinking of buying in a Manhattan building with a tax abatement expiring soon?

I am constantly searching for apartments for clients and occasionally come across buildings that are tax abated. Generally speaking apartments above 96th street had 20-25 year tax abatements and below 96th street the length of the abatement was only 10 years. As a result, in the last several years, the abatement is phased out, and the taxes go up substantially.

When the monthly numbers are lower, buyers will pay more for the apartment which helps developers of new condos make more profits. But how do you analyze the value of a condo with a tax abatement expiring shortly and how much time is enough that is left on a tax abatement?

Continue reading Thinking of buying in a Manhattan building with a tax abatement expiring soon?

How much can you negotiate on a Manhattan apartment?

Since the current market conditions are heavily in favor of buyers in Manhattan’s residential market, now is the time that you can negotiate more on a potential purchase. According to the latest market reports, in Manhattan’s luxury market, the average discount from asking price to sale price is somewhere around 8-9% percent. With new development, this number can be tougher to gauge because developers are loathe to discount the sale price but instead offer incentives from the mundane like paying transfer and mansion taxes to offering a free parking space. Generally, though now is the time when you can do a bit of negotiating but you really need to understand how motivated the seller is, how long the property has been in the market and how long the competing listings are staying on the market. In this market, some buyers might even make multiple bids and play one against another to see who will cut the best deal.

Patience is the key in today’s market as I have told a couple of buyers. Depending on the segment, you may need to let the market come to you as the seller’s expectations become more in line with the current conditions.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

Does it make sense to buy in a land lease building?

If you are thinking of buying in a building where they lease the land below the condo, only do so if there are sufficient time left on the land lease, meaning 30 years or more and you understand fully the risks.

In general, the land price can skyrocket at the end of the land lease in the case where the owner is a private individual or company so have an attorney very knowledgeable in these matters advise you. Also, have a buyer broker who knows what questions to ask to save you unnecessary attorney expense. How much does the land lease go up annually and for how long are those rates locked in?

In Battery Park City, the owner of the land leases of all the buildings is the Battery Park City Authority, a non profit set up to create and preserve the neighborhood of Battery Park so there is not an interest to raise the rents beyond the realm of reason. Having said that, you and your broker, plus later attorney should exercise caution and make sure that you are getting exceptional value for your purchase.

For example, as a result of paying rent on the land, your monthly charges might be higher than a typical Manhattan apartment.  If you are going to be paying a higher than normal monthly charge then the apartment should be less expensive than something similar where the monthly charges would be on par with Manhattan averages. Also, you might not see the typical appreciation that you would see on other Manhattan apartments.

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The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

 

Park West Village on Manhattan’s Upper west side inventory low

Here is the update on the market conditions in Park West Village, the 4 building condo complex that runs from West 97th street to West 100th street between Columbus and Central Park west. Inventory is low with each building having no more than 3 units available for sale. Considering that each building has over 400 units, that’s a minuscule amount of inventory available. Interestingly, there are no 2 bedroom/2bathroom apartments available right now in the Upper West side complex.

The table below shows the number of active listings, contracts signed this year that have not closed and closed sale since the beginning of the year.

 

Building # listings contracts sold
400 3 1 3
392 2 1 3
382 3 4 3
372 2 1 5

 

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

What use are air rights in a Manhattan townhouse in a historic district?

If your plan is to expand a Manhattan townhouse in a landmark district you will need to get approval from the Landmark Preservation Commission(LPC) before getting a Department of Buildings Permit. You  should hire an architect who is familiar and has worked before with the LPC so that they can best advise you. Generally, you might be able to build an extension on the back of the house that will match what the LPC has approved for neighboring properties but they may or may not let you go as high as they did. Also, materials used in the renovation will influence their decision to approve or deny including down to the types of windows and colors of the window frames.

Putting a penthouse on the roof might also be acceptable but it can not be visible from the street. So you might have 3000 square foot of air rights left on an Upper West townhouse on park block but the likelihood that you will be able to use  them all will be small.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

Manhattan closing costs for buyers and sellers

Here is a look at the closing costs for buyers and sellers of Manhattan real estate.

For the Seller:

Coops,Condos,residential 1-4 family
Brokerage Commission negotiable typically 6%
NYC Transfer tax:
1% of price for purchases up to $500,000
1.425% of price for purchases over $500,000
NYS Transfer tax
$2 per $500.00 of sales price
Attorney fee $1500 and up
Flip tax (depends on building) 0-5% COOPS*** Continue reading Manhattan closing costs for buyers and sellers

Manhattan market reports as of April 19

According to the latest market reports, the average listing price is down about 10% compared to last year, but 25 contracts over $4 million were signed last week. $849 million dollars of contracts have been signed in the $4million and up segment since the last week of March which is the best start of the Spring market since 2015. What do these seemingly differing numbers mean? The luxury/new development market has been in a buyer’s market for about 2 years now. As a result, the buyer and seller expectations are more inline with each other than lower price points. For the last year or so, new developments have been open to negotiations. Additionally, some projects have been paused or never got off the ground. So the existing inventory is being sold.

This is unlike the below $4 million price market where sellers’ expectations needs to adjust to the current reality and that they will not achieve the same prices that were reached a year ago. Manhattan buyer’s market tend not to last very long.

Additional data here

Broker confidence up according to latest study

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.

 

Current Manhattan residential market conditions

As days on the market increases for most residential real estate, the consensus is that the Manhattan residential market is in buyer’s market. New realities are setting in for sellers and not just in the luxury market but in all price ranges including starter homes. In 19 years of selling residential real estate, I have seen this cycle a few times already. The last time through, the market forces were accelerated by the financial crisis. This time around perhaps the winds behind the sails may be the tech bubble as well as the Tax Reforms and Jobs Act and rising interest rates.

But in any case, a buyer’s market tends to not last too long so while some buyers are waiting it out and deciding to rent instead, now maybe the time to make that purchase, knowing that finding the absolute perfect time to buy may be like trying to catch the bottom of the stock market. One thing is for sure is that with a little patience and good negotiation, a purchase now can lead to serious appreciation once the buyer’s market turns again into a seller’s market.

Also I think understanding that the Manhattan property values are not decreasing across all asset classes. Townhouses in Harlem continue to see steady sales and modest appreciation. Also, try finding a 6-12 family property for sale uptown with upside potential. There is very little for sale. In these markets both investors and end users are pouring in and there is a lack of inventory. Recently, I had a 8 family for sale at 313 W 138th street and there was a high level of interest and the property went to contract at over asking price within 1 month of listing.

The Author-  Brian Silvestry , a licensed real estate broker, has been selling residential and commercial real estate since 1999. He has sold in every neighborhood from Battery Park City to Washington Heights.